Equine Photography Skills

  If you have not noticed already, I am a huge fan of equine photography. I can spend hours looking at pictures and I try to share some of my favourites in my posts when they are relevant to the topic. If you're like me and you can't get enough of good horse pictures, this post is for you.

  With the ever gaining popularity of social media, sites like Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram encourages people to develop their photography skills. The camera quality on cell phones have increased, but let's be honest, there's just something about a good camera. I'm also not talking about a simple point and shoot, but an expensive interchangeable lenses type of camera.

  The more you learn how these cameras, the more you realise how much you can do with them. You might still have to edit them when you get home, but there's just something to be said about the quality.

  So do you have any equine photography skills?

Hickstead Statue at Spruce Meadows

Picture taken by me

  I'm not going to pretend like I am an expert in all things photography, because I'm not. I don't have a Canon or a Nikon SLR camera. I have an Olympus Pen E-PL1 camera. It's a middle of the road camera found between the point and shoots and the SLR's. The lenses are interchangeable and you can change things like the shutter speed and aperture all while being simple and relatively small. If nothing of what I just said made sense to you, my camera is a "beginner professional camera" so to speak. It allows me to learn how to change the settings to get different looks so that I am comfortable with its functions before spending more money on a better one.

  If you saw the pictures from my post called My Equine Visit, that was my first time ever taking pictures of a horse jumping. They're pretty good considering, but I learnt that I need a telephoto lense so that I can get a more clear picture without having to crop and zoom in (that ruins its quality). If you don't believe me, compare my picture with my friend's picture (who has a SLR) of Reed Kessler on Cylana jumping the same jump. Keep in mind mine is edited and her's isn't.

Picture taken by me

Picture taken by my friend

  If you're like me and you enjoy looking and taking equine pictures, you're in luck! I was looking at my Horsetalk.co.nz email today and learnt that FEI and Action Images are holding a photography competition. You can read Horsetalk's article here. It's open to anyone of any age. There are 9 different categories to enter in, so you have 9 chances to win:

"-A master class photo-shoot with a top Action Images/ Reuters Photographer at an FEI event in his or her country

-Winning works will be exhibited at the FEI Pavilion – a contemporary exhibition area at the forthcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, France & the FEI General Assembly 2014.

-All winning images will be published in an Official FEI Photographic Book & FEI Focus Magazine in 2014

-All winners will receive a personalised FEI Solidarity Photographic Award Winner – Samsung tablet and personalised leather photography portfolio"

  Pretty cool huh? But wait there's more, you also have the chance to be FEI's Photographer of the Year! From the category winners, an overall winner will be awarded this title. What will you get?: 

"They will be flown to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, France in August/Sept 2014 for a Photo Master class with a top Action Images/Reuters Photographer and a photographic commission at one of the events."

  If you want to learn more about this or to enter the contest, you can visit the website here. For all of you who are fans of Instagram, you can enter by using the hashtag #FEIPhotoGrandPrix. It's that easy!

  I wish you all the best of luck if you're going to enter and thank you for reading Pure Horse Sense.

  Until next time, happy riding!

This post was not sponsored by FEI or Action Images in any way. Their contest simply inspired the topic of this post.

Things To Consider Before Buying

  To those of you living in the United States, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Though, here in Canada, we don't share the same Thanksgiving day as you, we have caught on to your Black Friday. So you can bet that I'll be out and about looking for some great deals.

  In the spirit of finding good deals, I thought today's post should be about finding deals when buying your tack which is something that all of us can take advantage of.

  When you are shopping for some new tack or riding gear for yourself, there are a few things you need to consider: level of experience, price, quality and information.

  Depending on your level of experience, you may not need to buy the top of the line. If you're just learning how to ride, chances are you can get away with things like some inexpensive rubber boots. They're easy to take care of and they won't hurt your bank as much if you decide that riding is not for you. You also probably won't need to buy any tack because you'll be riding a horse the school has and his tack is already purchased by the stable.

  If you're an intermediate rider, you're more likely to buy a good pair of leather boots (possibly two pairs if you are competing) and a nice helmet. If you're leasing or you have bought your own horse, you can spend some of your money on some good tack in the colours and styles of your choice.

  When you're an advanced rider, you understand that the quality can make a difference in your ride. You'll probably spend your money on a few great pairs of boots, helmets, pants and jackets. When it comes to your horse's tack, you can spend a little more to make sure it fits both him and you perfectly for a more comfortable ride.

  The price of your tack and apparel also comes into effect. Granted, a less experienced rider will pay less than an advanced rider would, but you can also find some great deals. Sometimes you'll find that some tack shops will carry different brands and different prices than others. There's no harm done with shopping around. If you find a saddle or a pair of boots that you really liked, take a note of them and see if you can find a better deal somewhere else. If you can't then you can always go back to where you found them in the first place.

  Remember not to compromise on quality because of the price. At a beginner level, there may not be as many options, but make sure to loot at the quality of the seams of a boot compared to another, for example. You don't want to save a couple of dollars just to have them last for a few months. Apart from riding gear, compromising quality for price is especially true for tack. Not all leather is treated equally. Some can take more abuse than others. You never want to be in a situation where your stirrup leather snaps in half while you are posting your trot. The trick is to find the right balance of quality and price that works for you.

  Finally the other thing you need to remember is information. You should know as much about what you are buying before you buy it. Take the time to research and ask questions. This is especially important if you are planning on buying things online. You want to make sure you are getting exactly what you want and not something else. You can find some great deals online that you may not find in stores if you start looking. 

  So that is it for this week. I wish you all a wonderful weekend and thank you for reading Pure Horse Sense. 

  Until next time, happy riding!